No. 16 Oak Park defeats No. 8 St. Rita 4-2 behind Nelson and Christie

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

No. 16 Oak Park 4, No. 8 St. Rita 2

LISLE, IL – In the second round of the Steven Bajenski Memorial Tournament, Oak Park and St. Rita, two top 25 teams, matched up at Benedictine University. No. 16 Oak Park jumped out in front of No. 8 St. Rita in the top of the first inning thanks to a three run home run by first baseman Connor Nelson, an Illinois Wesleyan recruit. Oak Park would add one more in the fourth, eventually defeating St. Rita 4-2 on Thursday afternoon.

The big blow by Nelson came after a leadoff double by John A. Logan JC recruit, Jeremy Gaines, to start the game and a walk to the two-hole hitter Brian May. Nelson got a fastball in the middle of the plate and didn’t miss it, launching a no doubter over the left-field fence.

Oak Park (22-6) would add to their lead in the top of the fourth thanks to a sacrifice fly by Gaines scoring Evan Bell, a Memphis commit, who led off the inning with a walk. In the top of the fifth, the Huskies were knocking at the door once again, with bases loaded and nobody out but the Mustangs went to junior left-handed pitcher Steven Washilewski, a Kansas recuit, to get them out of the jam. Washilewski got a pop up and two strikeouts to avoid any further damage and keep the score 4-2.

Senior right-handed pitcher Hank Christie, a Northwestern commit, was on his game for the Huskies as he limited the St. Rita offense to just four hits and one earned run in a complete game win. He also struck seven and walked one in the process. Christie challenged hitters with an 85-87 mph fastball that he was able to locate to both sides of the plate. He also mixed in a curveball with feel, tight spin and depth to keep hitters off balance throughout.

St. Rita (25-8) put up a run in the bottom of the first and fourth innings. Outfielder Danny Gleaves, a Michigan State recruit, lined a single into left-center field to start things off for the Mustangs in the bottom of the first inning. He was later driven in by a sacrifice fly from catcher Cal Greenfield, a Florida recruit.

In the fourth, Greenfield walked to lead off the inning, eventually moving to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Ray Hansen, the Mustangs third baseman, drove him in with a single making the score 4-2, a score that held up for the rest of the game.

+ RHP Hank Christie (Oak Park) – 7IP, 4H, 2R, 1ER, 7K, BB
+ 1B Connor Nelson (Oak Park) – 2-for-3, HR, 3RBI, R
+ 2B Jeremy Gaines (Oak Park) – 1-for-2, RBI, R
+ LHP Steven Wahilewski (St. Rita) – 1IP, 0H, 0R, 2K
+ LHP Sam Basalone (St. Rita) – 2IP, 0H, 0R, 2K, BB
+ RF Danny Gleaves (St. Rita) – 2-for-3, R, SB
+ 3B Ray Hansen (St. Rita) – 1-for-3, RBI